Sitting Down with Ali at 15C Degrees Wine Shop & Bar

We recently sat down with Ali Rush Carscaden, owner and mastermind behind 15C Degrees Wine Shop & Bar and must! charities Partner Advisory Board Member.  Check it out…

44749_148388188523593_2655637_nYou don’t strike me as as someone who has ever backed down from a challenge! Why a sommelier? Why Templeton? And how in the world did you know it was going to be such a hit?

I love a challenge and owning a business definitely represents endless ever-changing challenges! I grew up in Ventura. My mom was a Spanish professor and my father owned his own business. We traveled every summer; mainly to Spanish speaking countries and mainly to Spain. I fell in love with the culture and food. When I was going to Cal Poly SLO, I actually wrote a business plan for a wine bar and years later it came true! I chose Templeton because my husband was born and raised in Atascadero and after selling wine for a importer distributor for 6 years, I saw a need for a wine shop that specialized in wines from outside the area. I knew all the local industry people, love wine and beer, and like try things from outside our beautiful wine region.

When you walk into work every day, what do you just love, love, love?

I always tell my employees that 15c is my dream come true and that it should feel like a dream state at all times! It is just such a fun environment with a great vibe. I have a great crew and awesome customers!

You have supported must! charities the last several years, but you recently committed to being on the Partner Advisory Board – what motivated you to take the next step?

I first heard about must! from one of my wine reps who was selling the wine and I just loved the idea. Plus the wine was pretty good too. We had great success with the wines, so I wanted to get more involved. I love that the money stays within the community and is so focused on helping children in need.

Happy Match Story – Jacob and Arual

JacobandArual BISBig Brothers Big Sisters presented Correctional Deputy Jacob Gersh with the “Big in the Spotlight” award in recognition of his exemplary service as a volunteer mentor. Jacob has been matched with his Little Brother, Arual since March of 2015. In addition to spending 6 hours a month playing basketball, longboarding and bowling together, Jacob and Arual helped recruit new volunteers to the program by appearing in a recent public service announcement by KSBY.

During Jacob’s recognition as “Big in the Spotlight”, Little Brother Arual thanked Jacob and said that his favorite advice he has received from his Big is “to keep out of trouble.” Arual’s mother said, “The time you dedicate to Arual really means a lot,” and shared that the preteen years can be a difficult time for kids. Although, Jacob will complete his one-year commitment to the mentoring program in March this year he said, “I will be Arual’s friend for life.” He says he has been positively impacted by the relationship and appreciates the ongoing care from Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, saying “I feel really supported by you guys.”

Jacob is one of the 31 volunteers that were matched in 2015 compared to only 4 Bigs in 2014. must! charities’ funds have helped Big Brothers Big Sister match almost 7 times more volunteers in 2015.  We look forward to matching an additional 30 volunteers in 2016!

Katie’s Story – by CASA

au_katie0Katie* was eight years old and living with her grandmother when she was placed under the protection of the juvenile court due to severe neglect. She had been shuffled between many friends and relatives after her mother died from a drug overdose when Katie was just five years old. Most of the friends and relatives who had put a roof over Katie’s head had criminal histories and drug abuse problems.

When Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer Janice Smith* first met Katie, her academic performance was suffering and she was withdrawn and quiet. It was Janice who sat in the library with Katie as she completed her projects, who helped with homework, and who made sure that Katie received extra help in the classroom. Janice also made sure that Katie was seen by a pediatrician, and that she attended counseling sessions with a licensed therapist.

Two years after Janice received the case, Katie’s grandmother, the person Katie was closest to, was diagnosed with cancer. Katie helped care for her grandmother until she died. Katie was then rotated through several different foster placements, often with little notice and less time to say goodbye to her foster families. Once, after Janice had arrived at Katie’s new placement, Katie confessed that she was worried she would get lost in all of the moves and that Janice would not be able to find her. “What if they move me to Nipomo?” Katie asked. Janice replied, “Even if they move you to China, I will find you. You will never be lost.”

Katie’s CASA volunteer made all the difference in her life and gave her a chance to move past the difficulties she faced with a caring adult by her side.

*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of both the child and CASA volunteer